N-Y Slides Past Raiders with Scrappy Win

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With a Tri-Valley Conference championship far out of reach, Nelsonville-York and River Valley didn’t have much to play for Friday Night.

But that didn’t stop the two teams from putting on an entertaining contest that had both squads looking like possible dark horses in the playoffs.

Nelsonville-York held off scrappy River Valley at Ben Wagner Gymnasium 61-56.

The Buckeyes (9-10, 4-5 TVC-Ohio) fell behind early, but once they found their footing, they took control of the game and never relinquished it.

Even though they came close.

“I think this win shows maturity,” Nelsonville-York head coach Jamie Justus said. “Last year we lost about four or five games in those sorts of situations.”

River Valley grabbed the lead early with four-consecutive 3-pointers. The Buckeyes had no answer for Raiders’ guard Layne Fitch, who had 14 points in the first quarter, he finished with 18 points.

Nelsonville-York trusted that the Raiders wouldn’t be able to sustain their hot shooting and slowly climbed back into the game. With some easy points in transition from senior guard Bryce Richards (16 points), the Buckeyes had the game tied by the end of the first quarter.

Nelsonville-York relied heavily on its defense in the second quarter and managed to force multiple turnovers. With River Valley stalled, the Buckeyes were able to put together some solid shooting of their own. Senior guard Justin Perry had nine points in the quarter and Nelsonville-York went into the locker room with a 39-29 lead.

Justus said it was one of the best halves he had seen the Buckeyes play this season.

Perry and Richards continued to fuel the Buckeyes in the second half and with Fitch only having two points since the first quarter, Nelsonville-York looked like it would cruise to an easy victory.

But it didn’t come easy.

With three minutes remaining, River Valley trailed by double digits, but with each possession they got the closer. Nelsonville-York had trouble in-bounding the ball and had some costly turnovers that almost gave away the game.

“We had too many turnovers late, we panicked with the ball,” Richards said. “But we were able to come out with the win that’s big. Huge.”

Luckily for Nelsonville-York, they were able to make free throws down the stretch to avoid another close defeat.

The Buckeyes return to Ben Wagner on Tuesday, Feb. 12 for senior night against Meigs. It’ll be another chance for the Buckeyes to secure a season defining win and send the seniors out special before the playoffs.

“They’re a special group,” Justus said. “They’re a loose group, they like to have fun, they drive me crazy.”